Holland America Line will extensively test biofuels during its sailings in the Norwegian World Heritage Fjords in 2024. The project began with the ship bunkering the sustainable biofuel produced by the Dutch enterprise FincoEnergies before departing from the Port of Rotterdam on April 27, 2024. 

The biofuel used by ms Rotterdam is sourced from organic waste and residues such as fats, oils, and grease, which typically remain after feedstock processing. The fuel significantly reduces the greenhouse gas emissions from the ship, up to an estimated 86%.

The initial phase of this biofuel test will include testing the fuel on one of the main engines onboard Rotterdam during its current cruises in Norway, Ireland, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. If successful, the program will expand to include running all four main engines on biofuel throughout the summer season in the fjords of Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord.

Holland America Rotterdam Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock)

Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line: “Holland America Line is committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and we are excited to demonstrate a next-generation fuel source that can help us toward our pursuit of net zero emissions.” 

“Converting items such as food waste into fuel is an innovative way to meet environmental challenges and we thank the Dutch government for its support.”

The biofuels produced by FincoEnergies under its brand GoodFuels are well suited to be used onboard cruise ships, as the consistency of the fuel is very similar to conventional fuel oil. Besides the cruise industry, Goodfuels has done similar successful trials in the offshore industry, onboard car transport ships, and onboard container vessels.  

Johannes Schurmann, Commercial Director International Marine at FincoEnergies: “The GoodFuels MR1-100 fits the existing practice in shipping where heavier fuels are already used today. Together with our clients, we optimize sustainability and cost of the biofuel, while not jeopardizing the performance in the engine and fuel system.”

The World Heritage Fjords Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are two of the most spectacular fjords in Norway, and both are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The fjords were designated as World Heritage Sites in 2005 due to their natural beauty and the geological processes that shaped them.

The choice of biofuels for the Norwegian World Heritage Fjords is not entirely down to Holland America Line’s environmental goals. Norway has mandated that ships sailing in the fjords can sail 100% carbon neutral by 2026, aiming to protect the fragile environment while allowing the hugely popular cruises to the region to continue. 

Read Also: How Much Fuel Does a Cruise Ship Hold?

Holland America Rotterdam Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock)

Alf Tore, Acting Director General of Shipping and Navigation at the Norwegian Maritime Authority: “There is a need to look at all good alternatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future and we see biofuels as one of the alternatives that, with the right use and origin, will contribute to emission reductions, which we welcome.”

Combatting greenhouse gas emissions has become a hot topic across the cruise industry. It has set goals to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Similarly, national and local governments are placing more demands on cruise ships and restrictions on the pollution they can cause.

Holland America Line’s Rotterdam is not the first in its fleet to undergo biofuel tests; Volendam also participated in similar sustainability trials, resulting in greenhouse gas emission reductions of 78%. AIDA Cruises, which also operates under the Carnival Corporation flag, has done similar trials using GoodFuels.

The 99,500 gross tons, 2668-guest flagship Rotterdam will operate in western and northern Europe throughout the summer, focusing on the Norwegian Fjords, sailing to Iceland, and several cruises to the United Kingdom.

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